Luxury getaway at Hotel Quintessence
Québec in winter can be a fairy tale kind of place, especially when you’re cozy under a blanket on a horse-drawn-sleigh-bells-tinkling ride through the forest. Or catching snowflakes on your cheeks as you skate across a frozen lake lit up at night, finishing with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
All that and much more is on the menu when you check into your suite-with-a-lake-view at the Hotel Quintessence in the Laurentian Mountains at the foot of Mont Tremblant, Québec’s premier ski resort. Getting there is a 90-minute drive north of Montréal – or a direct flight from New York City or Toronto.
Just minutes from the bustling ski lifts of Tremblant’s European-styled pedestrian-friendly ski village, Quintessence is a luxury boutique twice named Condé Nast Johansens’ Most Excellent Small Hotel in North America, most recently in March 2011. It’s all about decadence as you pass through the wood paneled lobby with its grand stone fireplace and curving staircase to one of 30 luxury suites catered to by a private concierge. But, being Québec, there is a casual ambience.
The resort delivers a huge range of “quintessential” winter activities: downhill skiing and snowboarding atop Mont Tremblant; snowshoeing; or cross-country skiing on the 150-km network of trails through woods, alongside rivers and lakes and over tiny bridges.
If all that sounds like too much work, slip into a sled and let the dogs do the panting, hop a helicopter ride over the winter landscape or zoom a snowmobile through a winter playground on a guided excursion.
In the dining room and wine bar, chef Jean-François Lalandec transforms local Québec products into gourmet meals like rack of lamb stuffed with chanterelles. But he also creates deluxe après-ski comfort food like macaroni and aged cheddar with bacon, cassoulet. There’s certain to be something amid the 5,000 bottles in the wine cellar tasting room to complement whatever you’re noshing.
For relaxation and re-charging there is the hotel’s Sans Sabot spa offering massages and treatments. Nearby is the Scandinave Spa, the genuine Finnish hot-cold/indoor-outdoor experience that can include tiptoeing through snow for a refreshing dunk in the icy du Diable River. Or simply curl up in your room in front of a blazing wood-burning fireplace lit by your very own Wood Concierge.